Transforming Teaching with Tablets

Tablets for Instructors Pilot Program

Transforming Teaching with Tablets is a 2021 pilot program for faculty and course instructors to develop innovative methodology and instructional pedagogy through technology in the classroom. ITS provided devices, training, and support to the community of instructors. Applications are now closed. 

Often viewed as a hybrid between a laptop computer and a smartphone, a tablet’s size and functionality can provide a mobile yet fully functional solution for instructors, both in and outside of the classroom. 

Expected Benefits

When used appropriately, writing on digital surfaces streamlines teaching workflows and provides flexible access to materials created by instructors during or between traditional lectures.

  • Digital writing on tablets using tools such as Zoom annotations, annotated PowerPoint slides, Microsoft Whiteboard, or Miro whiteboarding moves instructor lecture materials from an instructor-focused whiteboard to a collaborative space with tools that enhance collaboration between students and faculty.
  • iPads and Surface Pros provide portability of the instructor workspace so they can carry their coursework from class to class and modify their content or grade wherever they are when feeling inspired.
  • It is expected that instructors will also identify and share additional affordances that the iPad can offer in a teaching and learning environment that may be specific to their discipline or beneficial across disciplines.

Program Requirements

Participating instructors engaged in the following tasks and responsibilities that will build a community of tablet educators through this pilot. Hosted on Microsoft Teams, this community will be a forum for the sharing of best practices and program support from Academic Technologies, CATLR (Center for Advancing Teaching and Learning Through Research), and Digital University Solutions.

Program requirements include:

  • Completion of a pre-project survey.
  • Attending the project kickoff.
  • Attendance at all program events listed in Program Timeline.
  • Participation in the project CoP (Community of Practice), including the open sharing of feedback on experiences with tablets.
  • Engaging with other instructors at least monthly to create impactful feedback across the project. Demonstrations of use cases and best practices, shared in monthly user groups in Microsoft Teams.
  • Completion of a final feedback survey.
  • Editorial cooperation to promote the success and wins of this pilot.
  • Pilot instructors may have the option to use specific Teams-first experimental classrooms that specifically leverage Microsoft Teams and Canvas-Teams integration and participate in one or more test class sessions within the classroom, including providing feedback from the experience.

In addition to these requirements, participants were also encouraged to showcase their projects through a community showcase event and/or other on-campus activities, such as CATLR’s annual conference.

Instructors who fully met participation requirements were able to keep their tablet kit.

Program Timeline

Program information session (remote via Teams): Nov. 29, 2021, 11 a.m. – 12 p.m. EST
Application deadline: Extended to Dec. 7, 2021
Program selections announced: Week of Dec. 10, 2021
Program kick-off and training (remote via Teams): Jan. 12, 2022, 1 – 3 p.m. EST
Monthly 1hr pilot collaboration session: January – May 2022
Program wrap-up: May 2022

Device Information

Participating instructors indicated a preference for the following devices as part of the pilot program.

Apple iPad Air

  • Apple iPad Air – 10.9-inch – WiFi – 64GB – Space Gray
  • Apple Pencil 2nd Generation Stylus
  • Apple Magic Keyboard and Trackpad

Microsoft Surface Pro

  • Microsoft Surface Pro 7 – Intel Core i5 Processer – 8GB RAM – 256GB SSD
  • Surface Type Keyboard/Trackpad Cover
  • Surface Arc Mouse
  • Surface Pen Stylus

Selection Criteria

The project committee evaluated proposals based on the following criteria:

  • Pedagogical rationale for the tablet implementation
  • Potential benefits for student learning
  • Motivation for engaging in a Community of Practice to learn from these experiences.

Eligibility and Enrollment

Applications are closed. This program was open to Northeastern instructors of record who were teaching at least one credit-bearing course during the spring 2022 term.

Successful application proposals will include answers to the following short-answer questions:

  • What is your experience teaching with a tablet thus far?
  • How do you intend to integrate teaching with a tablet in your fall course(s)?
  • What activities specific to your discipline do you think a tablet in the classroom may support?
  • What benefits do you hope to gain from being in this Community of Practice?

Learn More

Learn more about the Transforming Teaching with Tablets pilot program by attending the informational session on November 29 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. EST. No registration is required. Click here to attend.

For questions relating to the pilot program, contact the Transforming Teaching with Tablets pilot team at